Guantanamo Taliban inmates agree to be transferred to Qatar

Five senior members of the Taliban government have agreed to be tranferred from Guantanamo Bay to Qatar as a part of a peace plan between the Afghan government and insurgents.

The deal, which has not been approved by American officials, was given the go-ahead by Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, who initially opposed the idea.

Al Jazeera reported that Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokeswoman, said: "The United States has not decided to transfer any Taliban officials from Guantanamo Bay."

None of the five inmates were accused of killing American citizens, said the BBC.

According to the Associated Press, the inmates told a visiting Afghan government delegation that they would be willing to be moved to Qatar, said Aimal Faizi, a government spokesperson.

"Our responsibility was to make sure they would not be transferred as hostages," Faizi said to AFP. He said that his government's initial opposition to the plan would be dropped for "the sake of peace".

The BBC has reported that the Afghan delegation and subsequent plan for the transfer to Qatar is likely part of an effort to close the Guantanamo military prison, which President Obama pledged to do three years ago.

The Taliban announced in January they would open a political office in Qatar, according to the Associated Press. A move that suggests that negotiations with the government may be imminent.

Some of the prisoners that would be part of the deal are Mohammed Fazl, a former Taliban deputy defence minister, alleged to be responsible for the killing of thousands of minority Shia Muslims. They also include Noorullah Noori, a former senior military commander and provincial governor, where he as accused of similar atrocities.

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